What it's like to be trapped on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship

Holidaymakers have taken to social media to share stories about their confinement aboard the quarantined cruise liner, the Diamond Princess

07 February 2020 - 14:56 By Toni Jaye Singer
Passengers of cruise ship Diamond Princess are seen as she docks at Daikoku Pier to stock up on food and supplies on February 6 2020 in Yokohama, Japan.
Passengers of cruise ship Diamond Princess are seen as she docks at Daikoku Pier to stock up on food and supplies on February 6 2020 in Yokohama, Japan.
Image: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

“Dine on freshly prepared sashimi in Kai Sushi, watch street performers in the dazzling Atrium, or take in a lavish production show in our state-of-the-art theatre” — life aboard the Diamond Princess sounds incredible based on descriptions from the luxury cruise liner's website.

And it likely was — before passengers were largely confined to their cabins after an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The roughly 3,700 people aboard the Carnival-owned ship, which is docked off the coast of Japan, have been under a two-week quarantine since Monday after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus. There have since been 61 confirmed cases among the passengers and crew.

Holidaymakers have taken to social media to share stories about their confinement.

Britain's David Abel posts regular video updates on Facebook from the balcony cabin he shares with his wife, Sally.

Describing the changing conditions on the ship, he told CNBC: “All of the luxury of having someone — a steward — coming to the cabin, make the bed, put chocolate on the pillow, change the towels, face cloths, clean the bathroom, those days are gone. It just ain’t happening.”

That said, the 74-year-old seems to be trying to remain in good spirits, even jokingly asking the captain to send him some whisky and requesting a banana a day from room service in one of his videos.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with over 3,700 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the coronavirus, is seen anchored in Yokohama port, Japan. © Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP
The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with over 3,700 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the coronavirus, is seen anchored in Yokohama port, Japan. © Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP
Image: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Jokes aside, he said that “it's a horrible situation for most passengers on-board, being stuck here, confined to the cabin”.

He particularly sympathised with those with windowless interior rooms, saying “it must be almost unbearable for them”.

Yardley Wong, who resides in one of the inside cabins, was delighted when it was announced that passengers would be allowed on deck for short periods of time to take in fresh air, provided they wore surgical masks, gloves and kept apart from others.

She posted a gif of one of these excursions on Twitter, captioning it “I'm so excited, I just can't hide it”.

She's also shared snaps of everything from her daily meals to the entertainment pack the crew provided to help keep her six-year-old son entertained. Take a look:

Those diagnosed with the virus will be transferred to hospitals from the ship, which on Thursday docked in Yokohama to resupply for a quarantine that could last until February 19.

Additional reporting AFP Relaxnews.